When my husband, Frank, and I moved into a smaller house this summer, we designed the living space to optimize efficiency and ease. And when I say “we,” I mean Frank.
A wide hallway had enough space for recycling and laundry and a kombucha-making station. One small, efficiently organized bathroom is provides both storage and a double shower. Frank’s office is actually elegantly built into a closet.
In my office, instead of the oversized desk that I had, Frank built a small built-in one with cubbies for storage. He also made a little “standing desk shelf” so my computer can be easily shifted when I want to stand and work. And when I want to sit, I do it on an inflated physioball instead of a chair.
I love my ball-chair (except for that one time the cat miscalculated her jump into my lap and punctured it). I love the movement and comfort and awareness of sitting on a ball. And holy obliques, my core loves it, too. By sitting on an unstable ball, my core muscles are constantly firing to keep me from rolling off. Sometimes when I’m watching (yet another) TED Talk*, I’ll pick up my feet and let my core have an all-out stabilization party.
I’ve noticed the same sensation of core awakening as I learn Pulse, a new routine created by Kelle Rae Oien, one of the Nia Faculty Trainers. Kelle’s focus for the routine is the movement variety through the three “Arts” – Martial, Dance and Healing – but what *I* noticed immediately was that when I do this routine, my core wakes up and gets busy.
Pulse provides movements of balance and control, undulation and extension, explosiveness and (duh) pulsing to engage and stimulate the layers of muscle and connective tissue through the center of the body.
The core is the body’s source of power and grace and it requires more than crunches to function at its potential. Interested in waking up your core body? Find a variety of ways of moving to stimulate stabilization and mobility: contracting and crunching movements are great but also play with extending and reaching away from center, breathing deep and making sound, moving with precision and agility, fluidity and flow. Nia is a great way to do all these things, but so is yoga and dancing and, yep, sitting on a physioball with a cat in your lap.
* Here are some of my current TED Talk favorites
And those don’t even include the ones from TEDx Charlottesville 2015: